By: Rachel Hyman
While many businesses and offices are still closed, events are cancelled and our lives have changed enormously, our I Support the Girls Affiliates continue running to aid those in need, this time literally. Throughout the month of May, I Support the Girls Affiliates Audrey Moore (Gulf Coast), Sharon Rosenblatt (Connecticut) and Teri Lawless (Syracuse, NY), led a movement of running, biking, walking and jogging for menstrual equity, and the story is nothing short of padtastic.
A “Padtastic” Idea Was Born
With the onset of stay at home orders, working from home and drastically reduced social interaction, ISTG Affiliates noticed a dramatic decrease in product donations and involvement.
“A lot of donations come from donation boxes that are set up in businesses around town, so when those businesses closed, it cut off a big chunk of donations,” Audrey Moore, ISTG-Gulf Coast said. “Some people continue dropping off products directly at my house, but it’s not the same.”
It became clear Affiliates needed to get creative in order to keep up momentum and continue engaging their communities.
With a lively running scene in her town, Moore considered the idea of a 5k fundraiser for some time, and realized this was the perfect opportunity to give it a shot. Thus, she partnered with two fellow Affiliate Directors and running enthusiasts, Teri and Sharon, and the virtual Padtastic Pandemic 5k was born!
The vision behind the Padtastic Pandemic 5k was simple: an inclusive event to boost awareness, support, engagement and donations in a time when it’s easy to lose connection. Anyone could participate and participants decided how they wanted to take part. The Affiliates encouraged participants to share their runs, jogs, walks and bike rides on social media using the #Padtastic5k hashtag and donate to the cause themselves. As the month of May ended, the virtual 5k raised a grand total of $1656.82 with 72 participants!
Supporting the Community
Another main goal of the initiative was to support the local community, and give back to small businesses. The coronavirus pandemic has damaged local economies significantly, and Audrey, Sharon and Teri wanted to give back to the hometowns that have supported their work over the years. As a result, the Affiliates thanked the top three fundraisers from each Affiliate location with a locally purchased gift. Further, all participants who donated $25 or more received a Padtastic Pandemic 5k medallion handmade in Pace, Florida by Chris Adalton.
All in all, the Padtastic Pandemic 5k was a meaningful moment for everyone involved. For Sharon, it perfectly reflected her love and passion for both fitness and ISTG. Sharon is an avid runner, and during quarantine, she decided to run every street in her town. In addition to raising money and promoting ISTG, her Padtastic Pandemic run allowed her to get 15 new streets closer to this goal!
“For me, running is very empowering, and it’s a great way to feel strong in my body,” Rosenblatt said. “I get a lot of strength from all of my activities, from running to I Support the Girls.”
In Audrey’s case, she missed engaging with her community, so the 5k provided the opportunity to revive that connection.
“I love doing events. I felt that even if only one person joined or donated it would make a difference.” Moore said, “I really missed community participation, so the 5k offered a chance to engage with my community and other communities again, which was really special for me.”
The Padtastic Pandemic 5k reminds us that we can still come together as communities and create meaningful change. It may be a little more difficult, but our ISTG Affiliates are up for the challenge.